“Only make decisions that support your self image, self esteem, and self worth.” Oprah Winfrey.

When was the last time you stopped to consider the importance of loving yourself?

Are you someone who shrugs off slights from others whilst hurting inside?

…and do you find yourself saying and doing things to please others (all the damned time!) when – honestly? – your heart probably just isn’t in them at all?

Well, if this sounds remarkably like you, then maybe it’s time to stand back a little, and reflect on why you react this way.

“Does my bum look big in this?”

On some level we’re all people pleasers. We put others first without always considering what it may take from our own lives. Besides, who doesn’t want to appear charming? Helpful? Willing? (Ok! Hands down). Of course we do!

At the other end of the spectrum, however, is a nasty little danger zone where you’ll all too easily go from giving of your own free will and enjoyment, to constantly finding yourself overloaded from saying yes too often – when what you really mean is “No!”, “Not today!”… “ Not ever!”.

Having a healthy level of self respect means learning how to successfully navigate this tricky divide between a) wanting to give of yourself, and b) avoiding a flood of endless (or unreasonable) demands upon your time and energy.

What’s the secret recipe?

Here are 5 behaviours you should start nurturing immediately if you want to hang onto your inner sense of value and personal space in this world:

Know When To Prioritise Your Own Needs/Goals and Desires.

No matter how difficult it may be, you must cultivate the mindset that your own needs are important! Don’t let the demands of work, your partner, children, parents, colleagues and friends soak up your entire life. There are no trophies for that. Too many people realise far too late that being fulfilled in ourselves only adds to the life of those around us – not the opposite!

Learn When, Where And How To Draw a Line In The Sand.

When you notice the same old negative patterns repeating themselves, it’s always time for change. Whether it’s your relationships, boredom at work, unhealthy lifestyle or whatever – that first little lightbulb of realisation is the one that should kickstart new beginnings. Think of life as a huge wardrobe; you have to periodically throw out some ill-fitting pieces (or people) in order to make space for exciting new things, right?

Behaviours and even relationships that served you in the past may not be doing you any positive favours now. Can you be objective?

Avoid People and Situations That Create Negativity.

You don’t need to be old and wise to realise that the most enjoyment from life comes from being around positively charged, enthusiastic people or as a part of an engaged, lively and supportive community. Search out the best of what’s available to you. Both at work and socially – self respect means not overloading your life with unnecessary negativity. Side step it as much as you can, politely refuse to accept it if your situation allows for this. Walk away from it immediately when you feel compromised on a personal level.

Take Care of Yourself – Inside & Out.

Find some time to focus entirely on your own personal needs every day. Don’t think of this as a frivolous chore! If you can find time to check your cell phone or other device multiple times every day, or watch your favourite TV, then you can definitely swap some of that time for positive action towards feeling great on the inside and out too. Read an inspirational article, book a massage, paint your toe nails…walk the dog! Today I bought myself a bunch of flowers to celebrate a personal accomplishment – and it felt so good!

Self respect starts with a whole lot of self love and homegrown T.L.C.

Nurture A Self Motivated, Confident Mindset.

Isn’t it just great to see a confident person in action? Someone who carries themselves as if they could tackle whatever life threw at them? Someone who exudes charm, charisma, energy and positivity? What magic do they possess? Well, none actually. They’ve simply tapped into their inner reserve of feel good energy. Life will suck this out of you if you don’t pay attention – but keep those fires fuelled, and you’ll burn bright like a diamond! (Hey! Even sounds like a great song title…)

One of the out and out truths about respecting yourself is that it also generates respect from others too. When we radiate that delicious inner feel-good factor we become irresistible – in a great way! – to those around us.

Self respect is like your very own invisible cheer leader – inspiring you to present the best of yourself each and every day.

Can you tune in to that?

IOriginally published at www.sarah-virag.com